Monthly Archives: December 2011

Latest News on the Federal Budget and History-Related Activities

UPDATE (3:30 p.m. 12/12/11): Lee White, Executive Director of the National Coalition for History has now posted a complete report on the Fiscal Year ’12 funding bill and how it will affect the historical community.

Original Post:

Latest information on the federal budget pertaining to funding for specific high visibility History-related activities:

The House Appropriations Committee has released its version of an omnibus spending bill for fiscal year (FY) 2012 that would fund the federal government until September 30, 2012.  As of Friday morning, Dec. 16, this is what we know:

National Endowment for the Humanities: Under the House version, which we expect is what will ultimately be passed, the NEH will be funded at $146.5 million (vs. $155 million in FY 2011).

National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC): Will be funded at $5 million in the current bill (vs. $7 million in FY 2011).

Teaching American History:  This bill allots no funds for TAH grants.

Title VI/Fulbright-Hays:  $74.1 million (vs.  $75.7 million in  FY 2011, but well below FY 2010 and only half of the President’s FY 2012 funding request)

Domestic Programs: $66.7 million
Overseas Programs:  $ 7.465 million
Institute for International Public Policy:  zero (from $1.552 million in FY 2011)

We wish we could be more definitive, not to mention more optimistic.  Lee White, the Executive Director of the National Coalition for History, continues to monitor the situation and we will post revisions at our web site as we learn more.  For full details, see the National Coalition for History web site.

Whatever happens, the AHA is grateful to our members for their efforts on behalf of these important programs.  We also thank the members and staff of all of the many other history and history-related organizations that have put time and energy into this work.

Grant of the Week: Linda Hall Library Resident Fellowships

The Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering and Technology, located in Kansas City, is offering resident fellowships of up to $3,000 per month (minimum 1 month, maximum 9 months) to assist scholars conducting research projects in science, engineering, and technology; in the history of science, engineering and technology; or in interdisciplinary topics that link science or technology to the broader culture. The deadline for applications is January 3, 2012. Learn more on the fellowship page and in the application instructions.

AHA Members Included in Choice’s ”Outstanding Academic Titles, 2011”

Congratulations to AHA members Thomas C. Holt, Louis Hyman, Samuel Moyn, Pauline Maier, and Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, whose books have been included in Choice’s selection of the top 25 “Outstanding Academic Titles, 2011.” Choice will release a longer list of outstanding titles in January 2012, but this list of 25 academic books represents the Choice editors’ favorites.  Also check out Choice’s picks for the top 10 websites of 2011.

Read on for the publishers’ descriptions of these five AHA members’ books.

  • Children of FireChildren of Fire: A History of African Americans
    Thomas C. Holt (Univ. of Chicago)
    Ordinary people don’t experience history as it is taught by historians. They live across the convenient chronological divides we impose on the past. The same people who lived through the Civil War and the eradication of slavery also dealt with the hardships of Reconstruction, so why do we almost always treat them separately? In this groundbreaking new book, renowned historian Thomas C. Holt challenges this form to tell the story of generations of African Americans through the lived experience of the subjects themselves, with all of the nuances, ironies, contradictions, and complexities one might expect.
  • Debtor NationDebtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink
    Louis Hyman (Harvard Univ.)
    Before the twentieth century, personal debt resided on the fringes of the American economy, the province of small-time criminals and struggling merchants. By the end of the century, however, the most profitable corporations and banks in the country lent money to millions of American debtors. How did this happen? The first book to follow the history of personal debt in modern America, Debtor Nation traces the evolution of debt over the course of the twentieth century, following its transformation from fringe to mainstream—thanks to federal policy, financial innovation, and retail competition.
  • The Last UtopiaThe Last Utopia: Human Rights in History
    Samuel Moyn (Columbia Univ.)
    Human rights offer a vision of international justice that today’s idealistic millions hold dear. Yet the very concept on which the movement is based became familiar only a few decades ago when it profoundly reshaped our hopes for an improved humanity. In this pioneering book, Samuel Moyn elevates that extraordinary transformation to center stage and asks what it reveals about the ideal’s troubled present and uncertain future.
  • RatificationRatification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787–1788
    Pauline Maier (MIT)
    In this splendid new history, Pauline Maier tells the dramatic story of the yearlong battle over ratification that brought such famous founders as Washington, Hamilton, Madison, Jay, and Henry together with less well-known Americans who sometimes eloquently and always passionately expressed their hopes and fears for their new country. Men argued in taverns and coffeehouses; women joined the debate in their parlors; broadsides and newspaper stories advocated various points of view and excoriated others. In small towns and counties across the country people read the document carefully and knew it well. Americans seized the opportunity to play a role in shaping the new nation. Then the ratifying conventions chosen by “We the People” scrutinized and debated the Constitution clause by clause.
  • Violent EmpireThis Violent Empire: The Birth of an American National Identity
    Carroll Smith-Rosenberg (Univ. of Michigan, emerita)
    This Violent Empire traces the origins of American violence, racism, and paranoia to the founding moments of the new nation and the initial instability of Americans’ national sense of self. Fusing cultural and political analyses to create a new form of political history, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg explores the ways the founding generation, lacking a common history, governmental infrastructures, and shared culture, solidified their national sense of self by imagining a series of “Others” (African Americans, Native Americans, women, the propertyless) whose differences from European American male founders overshadowed the differences that divided those founders. These “Others,” dangerous and polluting, had to be excluded from the European American body politic. Feared, but also desired, they refused to be marginalized, incurring increasingly enraged enactments of their political and social exclusion that shaped our long history of racism, xenophobia, and sexism. Close readings of political rhetoric during the Constitutional debates reveal the genesis of this long history.

Free Wi-Fi at the 126th Annual Meeting

Need access to the Internet at the upcoming 126th annual meeting? You’ll have a number of options to choose from. 

The Internet and Messaging Center, located in the Chicago Marriot Downtown’s Grand Ballroom, Salon 1, offers a small number of computers connected to the Internet for annual meeting attendees to use.

Attendees who bring their own laptops and wireless devices can connect through free Wi-Fi in some areas of the hotels, and in a number of restaurants and coffee shops nearby. Navigate the map and list below for all your options.

Wi-Fi at the Hotels

  • Sheraton Chicago:
    Lobby Level, Link@Sheraton Café (Level 2), Level 4 Promenade
  • Chicago Marriott Downtown:
    Lobby Level and 2nd Floor Mezzanine
  • Westin Chicago River North:
    Lobby Level
  • Courtyard Chicago Downtown:
    Wi-Fi in all public areas, wired complimentary access in all guest rooms.
  • Residence Inn Chicago Downtown/River North:
    Free wired & wireless internet in rooms

Wi-Fi Locations near Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers

  • Fox & Obel Café: 401 E. Illinois (0.2 miles NE from Sheraton)
  • Starbucks: 255 E. Grand Ave. (0.2 miles from Sheraton)
  • Panera Bread: 635 N. Fairbanks Ct. (0.3 miles from Sheraton)
  • Corner Bakery: 360 N. Michigan Ave. (0.4 miles from Sheraton)

Wi-Fi Locations near Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile

  • Starbucks: 444 N. Michigan Ave. (0.2 miles from Marriott)
  • Starbucks: 38 E. Ontario St. (0.2 miles from Marriott)
  • Corner Bakery: 360 N. Michigan Ave. (0.3 miles from Marriott)
  • Starbucks: 600 N. State St. (0.2 miles from Marriott)

What We’re Reading: December 15, 2011

Discussions on Newt Gingrich’s history background continued this week with an invitation to join the AHA from former AHA President Barbara Metcalf. Then, learn what it’s like to be an intern at the National Museum of American History, look through 4,000 digitized pages of Isaac Newton’s papers, study curriculum for teaching about the nation’s finances, and read some of the best long-form articles of 2011.

Letters to the Editor

  • Invite to Newt GingrichGingrich the Historian
    Adam Hochschild’s recent New York Times op-ed review of Newt Gingrich’s 1971 Tulane doctoral dissertation concludes, “Mr. Gingrich may succeed in being elected president, but it is hard to imagine him, like Wilson after he left the White House, being elected president of the American Historical Association." In response, former AHA President Barbara D. Metcalf has written a Letter to the Editor of the New York Times, not getting into the AHA presidency, butexpressing that Gingrich is welcome to join the AHA. She explains that, “All of us seriously interested in history, as Mr. Gingrich clearly is, need the kind of ‘continuing education’ that the American Historical Association provides.” Another Letter to the Editor, from Yvette Alt Miller, cringes at the thought of anyone’s dissertation being eviscerated in the press. She concludes, “Personally, when I was a grad student, I was just happy to pass my defense!”

History Intern

Digital Archives



Contributors: Elisabeth Grant and Vernon Horn

Committee on Women Historians Brainstorming Session

Should the profession be rethinking the ways in which the public and the private, the professional and the personal have come to be divided in university life? In a moment when many gender inequities in our profession appear to have been remedied and the history of women, gender, and sexuality established in most departments, what are the urgent tasks for the AHA’s Committee on Women Historians?

Brainstorming Session
The Committee on Women Historians (CWH) invites all interested annual meeting attendees to a brainstorming session on the mission of the committee from 9:00–10:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 7 in the Sheraton’s Sheraton Ballroom V. Registration for the women’s breakfast is not required.

Committee on Women Historians Breakfast
Tickets are still available for the Committee on Women Historians Breakfast immediately preceding the brainstorming session, from 7:30–9:00 a.m. in Sheraton Ballroom V. Speaker Barbara Young Welke (Univ. of Minnesota) will deliver an address entitled “Telling Stories: A Meditation on Love, Loss, History, and Who We Are.”

Telling Stories: A Meditation on Love, Loss, History, and Who We Are
Explaining the theme of her talk, Barbara Welke writes: “In April 2010, in the course of a single week, my 18-year-old daughter Frances suffered a series of strokes and died. This lecture gives voice to love and loss. Frances’s death also has pushed me to consider the work of the historian, to a deeper understanding of the losses suffered by the subjects of my current research—20th-century American families whose children died or were grievously injured from flammable fabrics—and to reflect on how heartbreaking losses are revealed or concealed in that most public expression of our professional identities, our c.v.’s. ‘Telling Stories’ weaves these four strands into a narrative; a meditation on love, loss, history, and who we are.”

Participants in the brainstorming session will discuss the implications of Barbara Welke’s address as well as the mission of the CWH as we go forward. Barbara Welke will question the ways in which the public and the private, the professional and the personal have come to be divided in university life. These divisions have many obvious benefits but also heavy costs. Have we, in fact, come to the best model or should we be rethinking these divisions?

The Women’s Breakfast provides a wonderful opportunity not only to hear an exciting talk by a leading scholar in the field but also to chat informally with many colleagues of all generations. The informal atmosphere at the breakfast, the buffet service, and the self-seating all allow you to reconnect with old friends and to meet historians whose work you have read but whom you have never had the opportunity to meet. It is also an occasion to meet members of the AHA’s Committee on Women Historians and raise issues you hope they can address.

The breakfast meeting is open to all, but tickets must be purchased with meeting registration or by calling 508-743-0510 to add tickets to an existing registration. A limited number of tickets may be available at the meeting. Cost: $35 members, $45 nonmembers, $30 student members. Prepaid tickets will be distributed with the badge at meeting registration.

Session of the Week: Popular Protest in Global Perspective

annual meeting sessionYesterday’s blog post, “Around the World at the 126th Annual Meeting,” used a map to show how sessions at the upcoming annual meeting cover topics that span the globe. Today’s session of the week, Popular Protests in Global Perspective, continues to show the breadth of the meeting’s worldview.

Session 199, Popular Protests in Global Perspective, was inspired by the dramatic recent events in Egypt, and will compare popular uprising in Tunisia, South Africa, Eastern Europe, and protest movements in the U.S.

The details of the session follow below:

Popular Protest in Global Perspective
Sunday, January 8, 8:30–10:30 a.m.
Location: Michigan Room B (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)

Chair: Iris Berger, University at Albany (State University of New York)

From “June 16” to “Youth Day” and Beyond: The (Un-)Making of Historical Memory in Apartheid and Post-Apartheid South Africa
Helena Pohlandt-McCormick, University of Minnesota

“Come With Us—They’re Not Beating Today!” Making the Streets Free in Communist Eastern Europe
Padraic Kenney, Indiana University

Stokely Carmichael and American Democracy in the 1960s
Peniel E. Joseph, Tufts University

In Plain Sight: Images of the Arab Spring
David Prochaska, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Session Abstract: Inspired by the dramatic recent events in Egypt, this panel will discuss comparative cases of popular uprisings. Participants will examine such issues as the underlying conditions and the immediate events that have created these mass movements, the background of their leaders, the relation of these movements to other opposition groups in society, the response of the challenged regime as well as the police and the military, the role of communication and the media both locally and globally, and the actions of the protestors and their visions for change. The panel will also address the outcome of such protests, seeking to understand what kind of transformations they generate both in the short term and in the long run and the synergy between uprisings in different parts of the world.

Check out other these other sessions of the week:

Around the World at the 126th Annual Meeting

Sessions at the American Historical Association’s annual meetings cover nearly every time period, region, and theme that historians study. The 126th annual meeting in Chicago has sessions that address topics that span the globe, from female networks in Ireland, to German immigrants in South America, to leprosy in Hawai’i, Uganda, and Swaziland.

To better illustrate the global reach of the upcoming meeting, we’ve selected just a few of the hundreds of sessions in the Program and placed them on the map below, according to the location the scholarship in the session addresses.

Some sessions are so globally focused that we pinned them in multiple places on the map. For example, session 73, Cultures and Corpses: Death in Three World Cities—New York, Alexandria, and Beijing, shows up in the U.S., China, and Egypt and session 89, Leprosy in a Global Community, 1866–1951, appears in Hawai’i, Uganda, and Swaziland.

While the map above features just a few of the hundreds of sessions at the upcoming annual meeting, we hope it illustrates how broad the scholarship will be at the 126th annual meeting.

Sessions Highlighted on the Map Above

Again, this is just a sample of the sessions at the upcoming 126th annual meeting. Check out the Program for a complete list of all sessions, tours, and events.